In recent years, there have been numerous developments in monoclonal antibodies used as anticancer drugs with a focus on reducing the ability of cancers to metastasize and produce new vasculature. These agents are called angiogenesis inhibitors and although these agents have been proven effective in treating certain types of cancers, production and administration of monoclonal antibodies comes at a steep cost with a severe side effect profile. Under normal physiologic conditions, angiogenesis is an important mechanism to create new blood vessels from preexisting vessels, usually occurring in adults. Tumor cells can hijack the angiogenesis pathway to produce new distant tumors sites, which may lead to poor prognosis. In an ongoing effort to discover alternative therapeutic options for cancer treatment, researchers have discovered that dopamine (DA) is able to inhibit angiogenesis through a mechanism involving vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the D2 receptors. When the D2 receptor is activated, this causes the VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) to undergo endocytosis thereby preventing VEGF binding and stopping the creation of new vessels. Endocrine and gastrointestinal cancers have a high expression of D2 and VEGF receptors and therefore are potential targets of therapy. Although DA may provide better tolerability and cost benefits, future studies in humans must be conducted to clearly determine its safety and efficacy as a treatment for cancer.
Finley B, Liu K, Powell D, Kellner J, Kinder DH. Potential Use of Dopamine and Dopamine Agonists as Angiogenesis Inhibitors in the Treatment of Cancer. PAW Review. 2015 Apr 01; 6(2):Article 2 12-16 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol6/iss2/2. Free full text article.